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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:25 am

A few weeks ago my friend Dan picked up a large donation of old CP/M and Commodore 64 disks, books and other retro flotsam. Out of the ancient wreckage he retrieved a book I'd never seen nor heard of before: The Book of Adventure Games. Just the cover alone made my heart flutter, what with its incredibly bad ass "Get Lamp" illustration made well before Get Lamp was a cultural meme in the retro world.

Just one look at the cover alone made me want to take a hi-res scan of it and blow it up into a frameable print.
Had this been the cover artwork for Zork, I bet even *more* games would have flown off the shelves - and it's the best selling text adventure of all time as it is.

After Dan shared a picture of the book with me and some friends, naturally I had to find it. I quickly discovered there was not just one book, but two produced back in the early years when some of these games were still fairly young.

So what are these things exactly, you might be asking yourself. They are interactive fiction "solution" books. But to be fair, they're far less (in a good way). They don't tell you explicitly how to beat, say, Zork 1 or Zork 2. But they will have a 1 or two-paged map of the rooms in the game and show how they might be linked. That's it. No directions on what to do or what to find and how to use it. Just the map. And, they'll usually include a short description of the game itself.

The author Kim Schuette explained:
"The Book of Adventure Games" takes the frustration--not the challenge--out of playing adventure games. It provides evaluations, maps, illustrations and clues for over 75 of the most popular games available on the Apple and other computers. Adventurers of all skill levels looking for that specific answer to speed them on their way will find just the hint needed to keep playing. Maps and hints are presented in a way that offers help without giving away the whole game and ruining it for you. This book won't tell you everything--just everything you need.
From what I've gleaned thus far, it provides even less than that. But it's still very cool.

Interestingly, screen grabs of some of the games are presented in black and white dot-matrixy prints on some of the pages, too.
This was an adventure game I never even knew existed! I don't have an Apple or 8-bit Atari, but I'm a huge fan of Dark Crystal and wish there was an easy way for me to play this game. I guess I *do* need to look at emulation some day after all.

It's not clear to me if all of these graphics were lifted from the games, or if some were drawn just for these books with rudimentary tools back in the mid-80s. Regardless, they are super charming.
And the best thing about these two books? Their table of contents are absolute gold mines. They are a listing of games, many of which I've never even heard of. I can't wait to start taking the titles listed there and learning about them in my spare time. I can guarantee they'll all be somewhere deep in the dungeons of The Interactive Fiction Database somewhere.

To be honest that'll probably be what I use these books for the most: archeological maps that lead me to adventures well beyond my current radar. That's pretty damned cool right there.

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Posted Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:55 am

That so cool!

A great retro find indeed!

I love when the hints are just that: hints not full walkthroughs.

Reminds me of when I read the CRPG addict blog. Always some gems to be found!!

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Lexington VA

Posted Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:30 am

Ill have to post some of my collection tonight ;) I have these and more. lots of old cluebooks and hintbooks. that was my primary 'collecting' hobby for many years.

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Posted Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:43 am

Could any of you post the table of contents?

So that I could get an impression on the games that are covered? Would love to dig for some gems there.

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:02 pm

Book 1 (deep breath):
Adventure, Adventureland, Adventure in Time, Ali-Baba and the 40 Thieves, Beneath Apple Manor, Birth of the Phoenix, Blad of Blackpoole, Castle of Darkness, Chambers of Xenobia, The Count, The Coveted Mirror, Cranston Manor, Creature Venture, Crime Stopper, Crypt of Medea, Crystal Caverns, Curse of Crowley Manor, Cybor, Dark Crystal, Deadline, Death in the Caribbean, Demon's Forge, Doom Valley, Earthquake--San Fransisco 1906, Empire of the Overmind, Enchanter, Escape for Rungistan, Escape from Traam, Fantasyland 2041 AD, G.F.S. Sorceress, Ghost Town, Golden Voyage, Grude in Space, Infidel, Kabul Spy, Knight of Diamonds, Labyrinth of Crete, Legacy of Llylgamyn, Madventure, Mask of the Sun, Mission: Asteroid, Mission Impossible, Mummy's Curse, Mystery Fun House, Mystery House, Oldorf's Revenge (Wizard I), Oo-Topos, Palace in Thunderland, Pirate Adventure, Planetfall, Pyramid of Doom, Queen of Phobos, The Quest, The Sands of Egypt, Savage Island Parts I and II, Secret Agent, Serpent's Star, Sherwood Forget, Softporn Adventure, Sorcerer, Starcross, Strange Odyssey, Suspended, Time Zone, Transylvania, Ultima I through III, Ulyesses and the Golden Fleece, Voodo Castle, Witness, Wizard and the Princess, Wizardry, Zork I through III.

Book 2:
Adventure (Scott Adams), Alpine Encounter, Amazon, Back in Time, Buckaroo Banzai, Caves Of Olympus, Crimson Crown, Critical Mass, Cutthroats, Dallas Quest, Dragonworld, Earthly Delights, Fahrenheit 451, Forbidden Quest, Gateway, Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Incredible Hulk, Inhumane, Institute, Kings's Quest 1, Kukulkan, Lantern Of D'Gamma, Lion's Share, Lucifer's Realm, Masquerade, Mind Forever Voyaging, Mind Shadow, MindWheel, Philistine Ploy, Psychosphere, Questron, Race To Midnight, Rendezvous With Rama, Ring Quest, Robots Of Dawn, Seastalker, Secrets Of Easter Island, Sorcerer Of Claymorgue Castle, Spider-Man, Spirit Of Glenmore Castle, Sundog Frozen Legacy, Suspect, Tracer Sanction, Treasure Island, Wishbringer, Wizard Of Oz.

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Posted Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:58 pm

Thank you so much!

I'll dig through the list.
I do remeber reading a walkthrough of "Blade of Blackpool" as young kid in a German c64 magazine and remeber how stunned I was.

Gaming season ahead:
Winter is coming ;)

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Posted Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:35 pm

I have a copy of the first book as well. It's kinda nice to have around.

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